Andres Morales Gonzalez
Summer is almost here! And to us Texans, that can only mean one thing… The hottest months of the year are among us! Now, while we (somehow) have gotten used to the rising temperatures in the summertime, we here at Lyrba USA thought there would be no better time to discuss the elephant in the room when it comes to rising temperature: Climate Change!
Climate Change is a widespread issue that has, in the last few years, sadly become politicized. That’s why, this month, we wanted to cover ALL the bases of climate change, as to show everyone that, although it may seem like a political issue, it is MUCH more than that. We will discuss things such as what climate change is, what causes it, its risks, and ultimately what Lyrba USA is doing to aid the fight against it (and of course, what you can do to save our planet too!). So, without further ado, let’s get this rescue operation started, shall we?
The United Nations defines climate change as a “long term shift in temperatures and weather patterns”. Now, when it comes to its causes, the UN cites that these shifts “may be natural”, but ever after the Industrial Revolution, “human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels (like coal, oil, and gas) which produce heat-trapping gasses.” This is important, as it clarifies a misconception that many have. Current scientific knowledge points towards climate change being a natural process the Earth goes through, not a man-made phenomenon. The issue lies in how we have sped this process up exponentially through the burning of fossil fuels, which, judging by how climate change brought about things like the Ice Age, I don’t have to tell you that increasing the speed of that process is BAD news.
Now, while it may be easy for some to dismiss it as a theory, we have already begun to feel the effects of climate change as a whole. For instance, here are some of the signs we have witnessed thus far:
The decreasing volume of sea ice
Oceans are getting warmer
The global sea level is rising
Humidity is increasing
Air temperature over land is increasing
Now, I get it. A lot of these things seem a bit odd. How will the decreasing volume of sea ice affect YOU? Well, all of these things carry pretty large risks that may not be apparent at first glance, including things like:
Irreversible damage to the Arctic ecosystem and coral reefs
Consequential impacts on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations
The rising sea level will gravely affect communities built along the coasts
And many, many more…
These risks are nothing to laugh at.
So, where do we come in? Well, although some may believe that the burning of fossil fuels is the sole contributor to the increase in carbon emissions, there is actually another important player in this game, that being: The mishandling of plastic waste. Not only can mishandled plastic end up in landfills, lakes, or oceans, where they will slowly release greenhouse gasses but they may even be incinerated, which, when carried out, releases black carbon, which has the global warming potential of up to 5,000x that of carbon dioxide!
This is why here at Lyrba USA we have multiple plastics recycling operations. This allows us to extend the life of plastics, and, as such, reduce the demand for new materials. This in turn helps reduce carbon emissions, giving the Earth a much-needed breathing space.
Now, while it may seem like all hope is lost, and that you are doomed to face this change head-on, there are still a few things you, as an individual, can do to aid in this fight. These things include:
Saving energy and
Supporting local recycling movements
All of these actions will help reduce carbon emissions, and if done by the masses, will help buy us some more time. But we must keep in mind that saving the Earth is a collective effort, not individual. While it is important to recycle and save energy, it is NECESSARY that we begin to move towards more sustainable energy, as well as place tighter regulations on carbon emissions.
So, this summer, do your part. Recycle, save energy, and join the effort for passing legislation on carbon emissions and clean energy. If we act now, we may still be able to put a stop to the awful threat to our species which is climate change.
Earth has given us a place to experience the beautiful thing that is life, it is time we return the favor.